Volac is set to maintain its position as the largest supplier of whey protein to the lifestyle sector in Europe, with a combined $20.3 million investment.
The investment includes a £2.5 million upgrade and expansion of its factory in Felinfach, Wales combined with the £10 million joint investment being made with Milk Link at its Taw Valley Creamery in Devon (announced in December 2010), will increase production capacity of whey protein isolate by 100%, responding to increasing sector demand for premium fat-free protein.
As a pioneer in whey protein processing, Volac is unique in its approach through self-design build and operation of membrane systems for whey protein isolate manufacture. The new Microfiltration and Ultrafiltration membrane systems at the heart of the expansion at Felinfach have been entirely designed in-house and have been fabricated by Axium Process in Swansea, which has been working with Volac since 2007.
As Mark Neville, Head of Lifestyle Ingredients at Volac explains, this combination of knowledge and expertise has been built up over more than 20 years of experience in whey protein process development:
“Our team at Felinfach possesses a deep level of understanding about whey protein processing and how to maximise the value from raw materials. This knowledge has enabled us to optimise the plant design to our own very specific requirements in a way no external equipment supplier could have done. The process adds value to every product stream created during the isolation of protein from the whey. As a result we have not only improved the efficiency of the manufacturing process but also enhanced the product quality and consistency as well.”
The complete expansion will take place over a period of six months to allow the replacement of existing equipment as well as the installation of new facilities with minimal disruption to production. A number of new design features have been incorporated to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption as well as making the plant operation easier.
Through this increase in capacity of whey protein, which will be both Halal and Kosher certified, Volac will maintain pace with its customers’ demands in this fast expanding market. It will also give Volac the flexibility to respond to the emerging mainstream market potential for whey protein in sports recovery products (1), through significantly increasing production of Volactive Hydrapro, an innovative ingredient designed for ready-to-drink (RTD) applications.
For more information on Volac—www.volac.com